Author Archives: reefres

New Techniques for Coral Restoration in the Caribbean

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May 18, 2017

Hear experts from the Global Coral Restoration Project provide an overview of coral restoration efforts around the world and discuss current obstacles and potential solutions. This seminar kicks off an in-person workshop designed to foster exchange between practitioners working in the fields of coral science, restoration, aquaculture and marine resource management. Explore the seminar presentations and learn about coral restoration from the experts!

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Adaptation Design Tool for Natural Resource Management – Minnesota, 2017


The Reef Resilience Network partnered with NOAA and EPA to host a 1.5 hour training on Adaptation Design Tool for Natural Resource Management at the National Adaptation Forum on May 11, 2017. The training session provided an interactive introduction to the Adaptation Design Tool that walks practitioners through steps for adjusting the design of their management activities to be more climate-smart. Participants got a brief ‘how to’ on the tool, along with an illustrative case study presentation, and hands-on work to apply adaptation design to example management activities for Puerto Rican coral reefs. A more extensive version of the Adaptation Design Tool will be launched this summer in the form of an online course and instructor-led training as part of the Reef Resilience Toolkit.
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New Techniques for Coral Restoration Seminar

Ellen%20Muller%20spawning%20Dlab%20smallSECORE International hosted a workshop at the Carmabi Marine Research Station Curaçao from May 18th – 27th. The opening day of the workshop started with a seminar to provide a global picture of coral restoration, discussing current obstacles and potential solutions. View the recordings of the presentations below.

Spawning Diploria labyrinthiformis with butterfly fish feeding on spawn. Photo © Ellen Muller


This online seminar and workshop is part of the Global Coral Restoration Project initiated by SECORE International, California Academy of Sciences and The Nature Conservancy, and further supported by CARMABI Foundation, Curaçao Sea Aquarium, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Shedd Aquarium as well as State of Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources.

The workshop aims to foster exchange between participants and organizers, working in the fields of coral science, restoration, aquaculture and marine resource management. The workshop is comprised of hands-on work, such as rearing coral larvae from daylight spawner Diploria labyrinthiformis, practicing the art of micro-fragmentation and outplanting techniques, as well as theoretical sessions on how to select outplanting sites and monitor restoration efforts.

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Coral Genetics Research and Restoration

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May 4, 2017

The Coral Restoration Consortium is hosting a series of webinars and discussions focused on Caribbean coral restoration. For the second webinar in the series, Dr. Iliana Baums from Penn State University presents an overview of current genetics research, highlighting various methods of genetic analysis and providing guidance on when it is appropriate to use each method and how it can help support restoration work.

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New Resource on Community-Based Climate Adaptation


We recently launched our new Community-Based Climate Adaptation module which complies the latest scientific guidance and tools to help managers assess social and ecological vulnerability to climate change and other stressors. We interviewed Lizzie McLeod, our lead climate adaptation scientist, to learn about the importance of community-based climate adaptation and some of the associated benefits. Check out our conversation below!

RR: Why is community-based climate adaptation important for coral reef managers?

EM: Community-based adaptation is important for reef managers because in many cases, community responses to climate change involve management actions that aim to protect coral reefs. Reefs can help to buffer coastlines from storm impacts and sea-level rise and protect reef fisheries to maintain food security, thus their protection can help communities to be more resilient to climate change. Communities who are less vulnerable to climate change are less likely to exploit their natural resources. Coral reef managers can help to highlight the impacts of climate change on coral reef ecosystems and priority management actions to protect them. They may also be able to access climate adaptation funds which can be significant to support projects which help to build the resilience of coastal communities and reef systems.

RR: What are some of the benefits associated with community-based adaptation? 

EM: Community-based adaptation is a vital part of responding to climate change. Communities, especially those in coral reef areas, are often on the front lines of climate change (e.g., experiencing flooding and erosion from sea-level rise and storms, coral bleaching, changes in ocean chemistry, saltwater intrusion into water sources, and changes in the productivity of food trees and gardens). Community-driven adaptation actions are more likely to address local concerns, values, and priorities than top-down adaptation actions and can empower communities to plan for and cope with climate impacts. They often provide cost-effective strategies to address climate change by building on local knowledge and experiences dealing with climate variability and change. If implemented effectively, then can also ensure that communities are engaged in all levels of adaptation planning and implementation.

RR: If there is one thing managers should know about climate adaptation what would it be? 

EM: No matter what actions are taken globally to address climate change, even if greenhouse gas emissions were stabilized today, communities will still face impacts of climate change. Scientists project that sea levels will continue to rise due to thermal expansion and the atmosphere will continue to warm for at least a century, if not longer, based on the current amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and ocean. Therefore, adaptation efforts will only increase in importance as we work towards implementation of the goals set forth by the Paris Agreement to keep global temperatures below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit temperature increase to 1.5°C.

Take a deeper dive into our Community-Based Climate Adaptation Module to learn more!

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Lead Scientist, Lizzie McLeod on Women, Gender Equality and Climate Change

EY7A1297Climate change affects individuals, communities, and entire ecosystems, but its impacts are not evenly distributed. Around the world, women are disproportionally impacted by poverty, political disenfranchisement and are often more reliant on natural resources for their livelihoods, making gender a critical component of climate vulnerability.

At the same time, bringing women into climate science and decision-making strengthens climate action, helping communities to be more sustainable and reducing environmental and economic risks.

This March, Lizzie McLeod, The Nature Conservancy’s climate adaptation scientist for the Pacific, is hosting a learning exchange for women across the Pacific Islands to share their climate adaptation experiences and lessons learned. During the workshop, Lizzie will help to capture their innovative local solutions,while broadening women’s engagement in sustainability. We caught up with Lizzie to discuss her work on the frontlines of gender and climate risk.

Staff News: Hi Lizzie. Tell us about yourself: How many years have you been at TNC and how did you get started in this work?

Lizzie: I have been at TNC for 15 years! I started as a coral reef scientist and became interested in exploring how coral reefs react to warming ocean temperatures. The biggest shift in my career took place when I started working more closely with coastal communities. As a marine scientist, I understood the importance of conducting research to model climate impacts, but working with communities in the Pacific deepened my appreciation for solutions that were developed directly from the communities themselves. Mirroring the broader trend in the Conservancy’s work, I also  shifted from focusing on the natural sciences to tackling the intersection of people and nature. Climate change is the single biggest environmental threat facing Pacific Island communities, so strategies that help communities and ecosystems adapt to a changing world are crucial.

While working with different communities, why is it important to focus on bringing women into climate research and solutions?

LM: Women often face unequal access to natural resources and decision-making and limited mobility which can make them disproportionately affected by climate change. Women also may face social, economic and political barriers that can limit their ability to cope with climate impacts. However, vulnerability varies among groups and individuals as well as over time. We cannot simply view women as a homogenized “vulnerable” group. Doing so prevents us from appreciating and addressing the power relations involved, and the active role that many women play in environmental management, climate mitigation, and adaptation. We need to explore how and in what contexts women are able to deal with the unequal effects of climate change and also develop solutions that build their capacity to create positive and lasting change in their communities.

In addition…

Women often bring different perspectives, knowledge and solutions to the table. Women’s responsibilities in their homes and communities, and their management of natural resources, means that they are critical to strategies designed to address changing environmental conditions. As an example, in many Pacific Islands, the women are the ones that primarily harvest taro – a culturally important and dietary staple threatened by climate change. Therefore, engaging women is critical to developing sustainable climate solutions that build on their traditional knowledge and expertise managing the resource. It wasn’t until scientists built gender into their research that they gained insights into the practices that the women were using to help farms adapt to saltwater intrusion, changing rainfall patterns, and sea-level rise. While it’s true that in many areas, women are especially vulnerable to climate impacts, what is often overlooked is that they also are often leading the way to experiment with climate solutions.

What inspired your idea for a women’s learning exchange as opposed to a broader community workshop?

LM: If you want the real story, the idea originated at a previous climate workshop when I saw women getting up to speak and getting cat-called by some of the men in attendance. Their input was marginalized. Women are often excluded from environmental decision-making including policy discussions about conservation and resource use, so we wanted to figure out a way to ensure that their voices would be heard and that they could help to shape climate solutions. This learning exchange will be the first time that these women from across the Pacific are all together in a space to discuss their ideas and climate solutions. By bringing these women together and creating a platform, we believe that we will be able to validate the critical role that women play in adaptation, strengthen existing adaptation actions, and help to leverage these solutions across the region.

You focus on the Pacific in your work. Why is this region important for climate solutions?

LM: Islands across the Pacific are literally on the frontline of climate change and are among the most vulnerable to coastal storms, sea level rise, ocean acidification and changing rainfall patterns. These effects are already being felt by communities in the Pacific, resulting in a lot of political will and motivation to take action. The Nature Conservancy has a 25-year track record of success in the Pacific and has relationships with leaders from the local level up to the national stage, which gives us the dual opportunity of cultivating solutions for some of the most at-risk communities and scaling them up to implement solutions around the world. Most importantly, cultural identity is tied to the land. When land is lost, culture is lost. We have a moral imperative to focus our work in this area and an opportunity to make a significant contribution to improve people’s lives.

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Integrating Ecosystem Services into Coral Reef Policy and Management – Hawai’i, 2017


The Reef Resilience Network partnered with Blue Solutions to host a five-day training on Integrating Ecosystem Services into Coral Reef Policy and Management on March 6-10, 2017. Experts and participants from 12 different agencies gathered in Kona, Hawaii to gain experience in evaluating ecosystem services and how to effectively communicate the benefits they provide to people to guide decision making and inform management within their jurisdiction. The workshop included a field trip to the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai and Kiholo Bay, where participants applied their new skills to identify the ecosystem services each place provides. Over the week, participants became familiar with different tools and resources for assessing and valuing ecosystem services and learned how to navigate and create maps with Mapping Ocean Wealth. Next steps for the participants include sharing key concepts and messages about ecosystem services within their jurisdiction and incorporating learned skills into their work, projects and plans. To see photo highlights from this training view here.
Check out this video from NOAA’s Office of Coastal Management, to better understand ecosystem services and learn about various tools to use when evaluating the benefits and values. Watch here.
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Coral Spawning Research & Larval Propagation

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February 9, 2017

The Coral Restoration Consortium is hosting a series of webinars and discussions focused on Caribbean coral restoration. The first webinar in the series highlights coral spawning research and larval propagation techniques being used in the Caribbean. The recording includes  presentations from researchers, Kristen Marhaver, Valerie Chamberland and Nicole Fogarty, on the benefits, successes and challenges of coral spawning work followed by a Q&A and discussion session.

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Building Reef Resilience with Green Fins

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February 2, 2017

Chloe Harvey describes Green Fins, a public-private partnership developed by UN Environment and The Reef-World Foundation that leads to sustainable marine tourism practices in the SCUBA diving and snorkeling sector. This webinar provides information on the Green Fins approach, shares successes, discusses lessons learned, and highlights newly released tools and resources.

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